Varicose veins are no fun to live with. They cause aching, burning and throbbing in your legs, swollen feet and ankles, muscle cramps that wake you up at night, and dry, itchy skin over the varicose vein area. Aside from varicose vein treatment, what can you do to help relieve your symptoms and improve your blood flow?
How Can I Keep My Varicose Veins from Getting Worse?
First, if at all possible, avoid standing or sitting still for long periods of time. Inactivity is not good for the blood flow in your legs. Try to get up and move around every 30 minutes or so. Set a timer if you have to take a lap around the house or office. Raising your legs on pillows while sitting will also help. Swollen or achy legs are caused by backed-up blood flow. Gravity makes it hard for your veins to pump the blood back to your heart, so elevating your legs fights the negative effects of gravity. But one of the best things you can do to relieve varicose vein symptoms is exercising.
Low-Impact Exercises Help Relieve Varicose Vein Symptoms
While exercise won’t cure varicose veins, it can help improve symptoms. Exercise gets your blood flowing and can also reduce your risk of developing new varicose veins. Walking is one of the best low-impact exercises because it is easy on the joints, requires no special skills or equipment, and can be done almost anywhere. When you walk, the muscles in your legs help push the blood through your veins which decreases pressure on your varicose veins (the veins with bad valves). Besides reducing your varicose vein symptoms, regular walking can also lower your blood pressure and may help you lose weight to boot. Maintaining a healthy weight will also help with varicose vein symptoms.
Best & Worst Exercises for Varicose Veins
Some of the best exercises for varicose veins are walking, bicycling, and swimming. Simple leg lifts, lunges, calf raises, ankle rotations, and foot stretches are also very helpful. They all encourage blood flow without damaging your veins or putting unnecessary stress on them. Stay away from any exercises that put pressure on your legs and your abs. Crunches, squats, sit-ups and planking are some of the worst exercises for varicose veins because they can create too much stress in your abdominal muscles.
Other Tips to Help with Varicose Vein Relief
There are things besides exercise that you can do as well that will help relieve some of the symptoms of varicose veins. Avoid eating too much salt. Don’t wear tight clothing, unless it’s medical grade compression socks that will help your return blood flow. Choose proper footwear that is not too tight. Heels are harder on the leg muscles than flats. Moving more, elevating your legs, and losing weight will all help as well.